JURIST Legal News

JURIST's legal news service, powered by a team of over 40 law student reporters and editors led by Professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.
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The US Supreme Court [official website] on Thursday upheld the convictions [opinion, PDF] of several men who robbed, raped, kidnapped Catherine Fuller in the District of Columbia in 1984. Twenty-five years after being convicted in Turner, et al. v. United States [opinion, PDF], Turner and several other defendants moved to have their sentences vacated on the assertion that the government violated the rule of law from Brady v. Maryland [opinion, PDF] by withholding exculpatory evidence. The case was decided on...
Senate Republicans unveiled their version of a health care bill [text, PDF] Thursday, proposing numerous changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) [text]. The bill will repeal many of the ACA's measures [WP report] including the tax increases it enforced to pay for itself and Medicaid [official website], essentially giving tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans. The fines imposed by the individual mandate [NYT report] will also be eliminated. The 142-page bill is expected to be voted on next week....
A Jerusalem court [government website, in Hebrew] ruled on Wednesday that El Al Airline [corporate website] employees cannot ask women to change seats to accommodate men. Recently there has been an increased number [NYT report] of disruptions on flights due to ultra-Orthodox Jewish men who refuse to sit next to women for fear of inadvertently touching them during a flight. The issue, some argue, is emblematic of the growing tension in Israel between gender and religion in public spaces. The...
A federal judge approved [order, PDF] a settlement Tuesday between the family of Michael Brown and the city of Ferguson, Missouri. The settlement was approved [NPR report] by Judge E Richard Webber of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri [official Website], and details of the settlement agreement will remain sealed. Webber stated, "disclosure of the terms of the settlement agreement could jeopardize the safety of individuals involved in this matter, whether as witnesses, parties, or investigators."...
Venezuela's Supreme Court [official website, in Spanish] on Tuesday allowed an investigation into the country's attorney general, Luisa Ortega, for "alleged commission of serious offenses in the exercise of office." The investigation was initiated by claims from Pedro Carreño, a lawmaker from President Nicolás Maduro's political party, who has accused Ortega of being mentally ill. Ortega has recently become a vocal opponent of Maduro. Ortega has denounced crackdowns on protesters, denounced the court's efforts to remove power from the Venezuelan...
Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley [official website] filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] against three of the largest opioid manufacturers on Wednesday. Purdue Pharma LP, Johnson & Johnson and units of Endo International Plc. [corporate websites] are accused of violating consumer protection laws by deliberately and carefully crafting a "campaign of deception." The complaint alleges that the companies employed deceptive trade practices and cited fake research to convince doctors and consumers that their products were safe despite knowing they were addictive...
Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court [official website] has temporarily halted decisions regarding a deal to transfer two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia until it can establish who has jurisdiction over them. The Egyptian government transferred the two islands, Tiran and Sanafir, to Saudi Arabia in April 2016, based on the belief that they had always belonged to Saudi Arabia. In June 2016 the transfer was invalidated [JURIST report] by a lower court in Cairo but that decision was overturned by...
Brazilizn federal police announced on Tuesday that they found evidence that President Michel Temer [Britannica profile] received bribes to help businesses. Temer has been under investigation since a wealthy businessman provided testimony implicating Temer in a bribery scandal and alleging Temer took endorsement hush money. Temer continues to deny the accusations and refuses to resign. In a report, the federal police say they have enough evidence [AP report] to warrant a formal investigation into the president by the Supreme Court...
The Arizona Court of Appeals [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] on Tuesday that deferred undocumented immigrant students are not entitled to in-state tuition. The ruling overturns a trial court judge's 2015 decision [opinion, PDF] that students under protection of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) [USCIS materials] program were considered legally present in the US and therefore qualified for state benefits. According to Judge Kenton Jones [official profile], the DACA program does not grant legal status, but allows each...
The European Court of Justice [official website] ruled [judgement, PDF] Wednesday that vaccines can be blamed for causing illnesses even if there is no scientific proof. In a press release [PDF], the court explained:In today's judgment, the Court holds that evidentiary rules allowing the court, where there is not certain and irrefutable evidence, to conclude that there is a defect in a vaccine and a causal link between the defect and a disease on the basis of a set of...
UN Special Rapporteur Mutuma Ruteere called [press release] on member states Tuesday to do more to prevent racism, xenophobia and discrimination against migrants and Muslims. Ruteere stated that counterterrorism measures aid in influencing fear and discrimination against those of Middle Eastern ethnic origin. He also said that he has witnessed "the proliferation of anti-Muslim rhetoric" in the aftermath of terrorist attacks. At the same time, Ruteere said, pro-hate groups targeting migrants and Muslims pose barriers to human rights. Another factor...
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein [official profile] called [statement] Tuesday for an independent investigation into the human rights situation in Kasai. Kasai province is located in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and has been the subject of UN scrutiny for three months. The High Commissioner condemned the establishment of an armed militia supported by the authorities and allegedly accompanied by state security forces and police. Zeid stated that serious abuses have been committed,...
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court [official website] ruled Tuesday that the state government must act as the trustee for public natural resources under the Environmental Rights Amendment. The court ruled [opinion, PDF] that royalties gathered from oil and gas leases on state lands cannot be used for budgetary matters and must be dedicated to conserving the Commonwealth's natural resources. The Environmental Rights Amendment was incorporated into Pennsylvania's constitution as Article I, Section 27 and states:The people have a right to clean...
A UN human rights expert warned [press release] Tuesday that the Central African Republic (CAR) [UN materials] "must act now" to protect its population and implement justice. According to Marie-Thérèse Keita Bocoum, the expert on human rights for the CAR, armed forces are spreading throughout the country at a worrying rate and a lack of response from the government to defend civilians has led to revenge attacks, public outrage, and "cries of distress" from citizens looking to the government for...
Britain's Serious Fraud Office (SFO) [official website] charged [press release] Barclays [corporate website] and four of its former executives on Tuesday with conspiracy to commit fraud and violation of the Companies Act of 1985 by providing unlawful financial assistance. The case concerns agreements between Barclay's and Qatari investors during the 2008 financial crisis. According to Reuters [report], "Qatar Holding, part of the Qatar Investment Authority sovereign wealth fund, and Challenger, an investment vehicle of former Qatari prime minister Sheikh Hamad...
The Supreme Court of Georgia [official website] issued a landmark ruling [text, PDF] Monday, holding that the state is immune from litigation unless it consents to being sued, rejecting a challenge to a 20-week abortion ban. Justice Blackwell [official profile] began the 71-page opinion by writing "Simply put, the constitutional doctrine of sovereign immunity forbids our courts to entertain a lawsuit against the State without its consent," before going into a history of the doctrine that goes back to English...
The European Court of Human Rights [official website] ruled [judgment] Tuesday that a Russian law prohibiting the promotion of homosexuality is discriminatory and violates the European Convention on Human Rights [materials, PDF]. The suit was brought [JURIST report] by three activists—Nikolai Bayev, 42; Aleksei Kiselev, 33; and Nikolai Alekseyev, 39 — who were arrested and fined for carrying banners stating "homosexuality is natural, not a perversion" during staged demonstrations between 2009 and 2012. The so-called "gay propaganda law," introduced in...
The US Supreme Court [official website] ruled 5-4 [text, PDF] on Monday in favor of a man who has been sentenced to death in Alabama, holding that he had not received "the psychiatric examination and assistance necessary to prepare an effective defense based on his mental condition" as required after the 1985 case Ake v. Oklahoma [opinion]. James McWilliams was convicted of raping and killing a convenience store clerk in 1984. At trial, the defense counsel repeatedly moved to continue...
The UNWorking Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (UNWGEID) [mandate] reported [press release] on Monday that The Gambia is experiencing "encouraging signs in moves to shed light on past human rights violations." In addressing the recurring enforced disappearances of many Gambians, the UNWGEID's Chair, Houria Es-Slami and fellow delegation member Henrikas Mickevicius said, "we welcome the commitments made by the Government of The Gambia to embark on comprehensive reforms, including measures to ensure truth, justice and reparation for victims, as...
The US Supreme Court [official website] on Monday reversed a decision [opinions, PDF] by the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, finding that the circuit court did not have authority to review the trial court's decision where the trial court had not violated defendant's due process rights during the penalty phase of his criminal trial. In Jenkins v. Hutton [SCOTUSblog materials], the circuit court had relied on the miscarriage-of-justice exception, which permits the habeas petitioner "to review a...

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